Monday, November 28, 2011

Cabinet of Curiosities

For our final project for the semester, we were asked to design a "cabinet of curiosities" that would house 3 objects that the first years created...

Upon meeting with first years Tarek Baassiri, David Kendall, and Torrey Orlopp, I got a clear understanding of what function my cabinet needed to meet. Tarek had designed a CD holder, David designed an iPod, and Torrey designed a holder for a Led Zeppelin concert ticket; so it was clear to me that the cabinet should revolve around music, both functionally and aesthetically.  I knew I wanted my cabinet to have a speaker so it would function as a way to both play and store music, and David proposed an amazing lighting idea to include music-synching LED lights that would pulsate with whatever music is being played.  With these two ideas in mind, I explored different forms to house the objects.
When I began thinking about music-related forms, I came up with several ideas for a cabinet, which included a boombox, amps, a gramophone, and a jukebox. Although each of these cabinet ideas related to the three objects that would be stored inside, I believed that they were too literal and didn’t fit the exact style I was going for.  Going back to the drawing board, I kept the Led Zeppelin ticket holder in mind specifically as to give me a clue for the feel of the cabinet. I decided that a retro, late 1960’s inspired cabinet would fit the objects well and by researching furniture from this decade, I arrived at my final design.
I came across the final shape of my cabinet through a spur of the moment sketch in class after looking at retro furniture online. I wanted something that was funky and rock-inspired, and the tapered pyramid-like design of the cabinet entered my mind as an edgy, retro design. The cabinet includes a speaker at the base, held on angular, tapered legs, which would play music from the CD rack on the first shelf and from the iPod dock on the middle shelf.  Colored LEDs would be installed under the top panel of the cabinet and on top of the speaker. Glass shelves would allow the light to pass through the entire cabinet, creating its own light show whenever music is being played. The side panels and front cabinet doors would also be glass in order to showcase the objects inside. The bottom shelf holding the concert ticket would be the only section of the cabinet with doors, in order to preserve the condition of the ticket as well as signifying a place of display and importance. The door pulls on the cabinet were taken from a symbol on a Led Zeppelin album, which draw attention to an important object as well as add a fluid element to an otherwise linear cabinet. On the second shelf is an iPod dock built into the shelf which houses David’s iPod. This was placed on an open shelf at a height that would be easiest to access, because this would most likely be the most used object in this cabinet. On the top shelf is Tarek’s CD display, which is fixed onto a lazy susan spinning mechanism in the shelf that would allow the user ease of selecting a disc from any side of the polygonal rack.
I decided to use a dark gray-stained walnut in the cabinet to contribute to the dark, edgy feel of the design. Wood will only be used on the top and back panels of the cabinet and around the speaker in order to hide the electrical components and visually anchor the cabinet. I also chose walnut because of its pronounced grain, which adds a warm, less industrial feel to the cabinet. The door pulls would be molded from recycled aluminum and the glass panels would be held together using aluminum panel fasteners, which is both sustainable and has a modern appearance which complements the retro feel of the cabinet.
I would expect this cabinet to be used in a lounge, bar, or living room setting as a beautiful cabinet by day and party DJ by night. It functions as an entertainment center with a built in conversation piece and memorabilia display for a proud Led Zeppelin fan. This cabinet would allow users the freedom to easily access all of their music in one place, while having a unique lighting experience to accompany each song.  It is a rock and roll cabinet of curiosity! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I was on stumble upon and I discovered quilling which is "the art of turning paper strips into intricate artworks".  They are so beautiful and reminded me of when we had to use paper to create a place for a leaf in first year studio. If only I had seen these then!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Music Synching LEDs

Idea to apply to lighting on the inside of my cabinet of curiosity: lights that flash with the music being played inside it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Signage Precedents

This example is the "info lock" system from APCO Signs. The idea is that there are several interchangeable tabs behind a hospital sign that allow doctors and nurses to display information regarding the patient. There is a security button under the sign which allows only authorized personnel to change the information. Even the background of the sign and the finishes can be changed. I thought that this sign was brilliant because it an easy to understand system and it is more efficient and better looking than just posting these pieces of information on the door via paper or whiteboard.

This example of architectural signage is from the Edinburgh Children's Hospital. The main sign displaying the name of the hospital is spelled out using building blocks and this theme is continued with block-like sections covering the entire facade, with whimsical animal images on each one. I liked this use of signage because it makes children feel less scared to go to a hospital when the exterior is friendly and playful.

I find glass signs inspiring because light can pass through, reflections draw your eye to them, and they usually are very clean-lined and modern looking. A glass signage system would give a business an overall sophisticated feel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspirational Quote of the Day

‎"When I was 5 years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, They asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon

This quote stuck a chord with me today. It is always important to find happiness in everything you do, and it makes my happy to be in a program where I can explore my creativity every day. Life is short, live!

IOB...we made it!

Today we presented our finalized design to Richard, Naari, board members, and the other workers from the IOB and it was a success! I felt very happy with our final product and I'm hoping this design will be something that will be put into action at the IOB. This project was a life changing experience not only because this was my first "real life" design project but because we got to help some really special people who appreciate our work.

Here's some pictures from our pin up today: